Two Turkish cargo planes carrying 50 tons of humanitarian aid flew to drought-hit Somalia on Monday while officials confirmed that more flights would soon follow as a nationwide campaign to help millions facing famine gathered steam.
“Whatever the reason behind poverty and famine in Somalia, we are all responsible. The situation is a shame for humankind ... and we can remedy that by working hand in hand,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said at a ceremony in Ankara before the planes departed.
“More cargo planes will be flying [to Somalia] tomorrow and then more aid, collected from all over Turkey, will be taken to Somalia – some on cargo planes and some on sea vessels,” Bozdağ said.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Health Minister Recep Akdag said Monday’s shipment included 10 tons of medical supplies. The rest was food intended to sustain 1,500 families for a month, including baby food, milk powder, sugar, oil and flour.
A Turkish medical team is ready to go to Somalia to set up field hospitals, provided that their safety is ensured, Akdag said.
The head of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency, Serdar Cam, flew to Somalia on one of the planes.
Also on Monday, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey launched its own fund-raising campaign with a donation of 1 million TRY (ca. $ 566,000).
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday issued a memorandum calling on all institutions to launch donation drives to help the famine in Africa, particularly in Somalia.
(Source: Hurriyet Daily News)